Report includes recommended changes to state law, rules and policy
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter and members of the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse today released their findings and final recommendations for legislation, policy and rule changes to combat the state’s current opioid epidemic.
The nine-member commission, made of representatives from law enforcement, the medical community, private sector businesses and the state legislature, met six times over the course of the last five months to hear testimony from state and national stakeholders involved in the opioid epidemic.
Commission members used the meetings to deliver meaningful solutions in response to the state’s current overdose crisis.
Attorney General Hunter applauded the member’s efforts and said the recommendations will go a long way to curbing the state’s opioid epidemic.
“What we are presenting today is a blueprint for changes to legislation and policy that will establish a much needed framework to further enhance Oklahoma’s response to the opioid epidemic,” Attorney General Hunter said. “When implemented, we know lives will be saved, more treatment options will be made available, addiction will be diagnosed, diverted and treated, allowing families who have loved ones struggling with addiction to get help and drug dealers will be held accountable. I look forward to seeing the change that will come about because of our work.
“I appreciate the commission members for their dedicated efforts over the last several months. We have dug in and believe we have put together the best recommendations to set the state on a better path forward.
“I remain committed to a continued dialogue with members of the legislature and others involved as we see these initiatives through.”
Attorney General Hunter also announced his office today acted on the commission recommendation to participate in the First Responder Overdose Program, through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
“This morning, I signed a memorandum of understanding with the department of mental health to have agents in the Attorney General’s Office trained to carry Naloxone,” Attorney General Hunter said. “We hope leading by example, will send a message to other law enforcement agencies to get involved with this program.”
Among the proposals to legislative changes, commission members recommend enacting the following:
• Mandate the use of electronic prescriptions;
• Criminalize the trafficking of fentanyl and its equivalent;
• Pass a Good Samaritan Law;
• Require medical clinic owners to register with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
• A tax on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of opioids, and use the money as a funding mechanism for opioid addiction treatment;
Other policy, rule changes or initiatives the commission recommends includes:
• Fully fund drug courts and other specialty courts throughout the state;
• Review current drug law to determine drug court eligibility and expand eligibility after recent changes in the law which made some drug possession crimes misdemeanor offenses;
• Encourage use of the ODMap application by law enforcement, first responders, and health officials to track overdose events in real time so that resources can be directed to “hot-spot” areas and criminal investigations can be conducted, if necessary;
• Change necessary rules with the appropriate boards to require at least one hour of continuing education for all prescribers and pharmacists every reporting period on proper prescribing and the risks of opioids and recognizing addiction and diversion;
• Create a statewide emergency department (“ER”) discharge database to study overdose events and aftercare results.